President Oxtoby Signs Off on Student Demands at Pomona College

Last night, Pomona College President David Oxtoby signed off on a long list of student demands. “We, a group of marginalized students who have not been served by Pomona College, demand that President Oxtoby support and implement the following,” states the document.

“We demand that Pomona College’s President, David Oxtoby, invoke his power and leadership at the Claremont Colleges by releasing a public statement of support and solidarity for ‘CMCers of Color,’” the document begins. “Pomona College, as an institution, should acknowledge the validity of their demands for institutional change, which include but are not limited to: a permanent Resource Center by Spring 2016, student representation in hiring the next CMC Dean of Students, and hiring a CMC Diversity and Inclusivity Chair.”

“This formal commitment and statement must explicitly use language that will directly acknowledges [sic] the inequities that exist within these institutions and that legitimizes the experiences of marginalized communities by recognizing the different systemic factors that contribute to their oppression. Explicitly, this means that the terms ‘marginalization,’ ‘institutional racism,’ ‘failure to support,’ and ‘violence’ should be present in this statement.”

Additionally, the student protestors requested that President Oxtoby hold separate meetings for various student groups. “We demand that each affinity group has a personal meeting with President Oxtoby to discuss our individual, unique needs and struggles for the creation or improvement of cultural spaces,” the students write. “These meetings will begin this Friday, November 20, 2015, and will be weekly with a different affinity group.”

These affinity groups are defined as:

  1. Indigenous and Native American students

  2. Low-income/first-generation students

  3. Undocumented/DACAmented students

  4. Black and African Diaspora students

  5. Latinx students

  6. Any other affinity groups that feel the need for a meeting

The students also called for an increase in mental health resources. “We demand an active and formal commitment to allocate and increase funds for Monsour and other mental health resources so that students who request counseling have the opportunity to receive it as needed, especially for urgent cases,” the students state. “The college should provide upfront payment of copays for off-campus resources, effective immediately.”

They demanded that Pomona hire “full time counselors who are specially trained in queer and trans mental health issues” and provide “sensitivity training for all current counselors and staff” by January 19. “We demand that Pomona College and the Claremont University Consortium increase the number of counselors who identify as persons of color and LGBTQ+ to reflect the diversity of the campuses so that all communities can best be served.”

Lastly, students insisted that Pomona increase its racial diversity. “We demand the following: starting with the 2025-2026 academic year, at least half of all tenure-track position openings must be offered to underrepresented minorities,” the students state. The students also call for “the establishment of a Disability Studies and a Native American and Indigenous Studies department” as well as “an increase of student representation in the initial candidate vetting process for hirings of new faculty.”